Sometimes I get a little nostalgic for the early days of reality television, back when "The Real World" was a groundbreaking little-show-that-could on MTV. Back before “Real Housewives” became celebrities with their own line of malt liquor or candles or whatever. You know, the Before Times. The 1990s.
Maybe it’s a misremembered artifact my youth, but back then the world seemed less dramatic. We had “COPS,” sure, but that was just one show. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” would sometimes include some footage of a dude getting hit in the balls with a flying object, or perhaps a cat comically falling off of a kitchen counter, but all of that seems pretty tame now.
Now we have shows where people marry total strangers, but not before having a big ol’ throwdown fight with the other contestants. It’s easy to watch these shows and find the world to be a scary, scary place full of Botox and catfights and bling.
I avoid true crime shows, because while I find that stuff fascinating, I don’t want to feed my brain images of the worst things we human beings are capable of doing to other human beings. (Truth: this is the same reason I don’t watch the news. Or “Toddlers and Tiaras.”)
And now there’s a new show to instill more fear into my already a-feared heart. It’s called “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry” and it’s about people who just wake up one day to find out they’re married to someone who is a rapist/babyeater/murderer/sociopath.
I haven’t watched the show yet, but I’m willing to bet that the one theme in all of the stories on “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry” is that the wronged spouse thought his or her significant other was sooo perfect, “almost too good to be true.” And you know what they say: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
So are these cases of people just being so blinded by a good thing that they can’t see obvious signs of trouble? Or are these horrible spouses such good liars that they can circumvent even the keenest of B.S. detectors? And what does it say about our society that there are so many people who were duped by their husbands or wives that there is now an entire reality show dedicated to them?
This reminds me why I’m a big fan of cohabitation prior to making an arrangement legal; it gives you time to see the good and the bad and make a decision from there. If your live-in boyfriend “seems perfect,” chances are there is something seriously wrong.
Because look, you cannot live with someone for more than say, a year, before you see their dark side, whether it be their inability to properly recap the wobbliest condiment bottles, thus causing a soy-sauce-tastrophe every time you open the fridge door a little too fast -- or their murderous undercurrent of pure evil. Everyone has a bad side. What I’m saying is: If you are with someone for a while and they seem to have no flaws, RUN.
I knew Jeff was a supremely flawed keeper when I found out he has this Conan the Barbarian collectible doll (sorry, “maquette”) that he insists on displaying in our living room, complete with its own lighting.
One year I made Conan a tiny crocheted halter top/matching beret set, but Jeff refuses to let him wear it.
I recognize that love is blind, at least for a little while. But I’ve been living with Jeff for a couple of years, long enough to know that he doesn’t kill hookers and stash their bodies in the trunk of his car. AT LEAST I DON’T THINK HE DOES. Long enough to recognize that there are things about him that annoy me, just as there are things about me that annoy him. At this point in our relationship, I have a solid sense of his character, both the good things and the bad things. Or at least I think I do, but with this new show lurking out there, attacking unsuspecting spouses, how can I be certain? How can any of us be certain?
Have you ever been involved in a relationship with someone who seemed “perfect” but turned out, in fact, to be a horrible, horrible person? In hindsight, were there any warning signs that you ignored?